June 1, 2006｜China
Economic Research Institute, Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences
1. The establishment of the Shenyang Economic Region
For the revitalization of the Northeast old industrial base, a new “agent of propulsion” is necessary, along the lines of the leads taken by Guangdong in the Pearl River Delta and by Shanghai in the Yangtze Delta, which will promote rapid growth in Liaoning Province in its entirety, and China’s Northeast. As it met that demand, the Shenyang Economic Region came into being. The groundwork started in 2003, and it was formally opened in April 2005.
The Shenyang Economic Region is the Central Liaoning City Cluster, formed by seven cities; Anshan, Fushun, Benxi, Liaoyang, Tieling, Yingkou, and Shenyang at their center. Its total population is 21,275,000 (51.1% of the provincial total) and its total area is 65,028 km2 (43.9% of the provincial total). Shenyang is the Northeast’s largest central city and is supported by the steel centers of Anshan and Benxi, the petrochemical center of Fushun, the synthetic fiber center of Liaoyang, the energy base of Tieling, and the domestically key port of Yingkou, which are all less than an hour away by car.
Table 1. Major indices for the Shenyang Economic Region within the three Northeast provinces (as at the end of 2003)
Since its formation “in alliance”, the seven cities of the Shenyang Economic Region have jointly attracted investment, often going to southern China to attract and jointly recruit personnel, and as the “Shenyang Economic Region”, they hold a giant recruitment fair every three months in Shenyang’s recruitment market, which receives attention from a wide range of businesses and individuals from the seven cities and elsewhere within the province. In addition, the coming together of trade and commerce has started, the heads of the commerce divisions in the seven cities have put their signatures to the “Council for Cooperation in Commerce, Trade and Distribution in the Central Liaoning City Cluster (Shenyang Economic Region)”, and in the “11th Five-Year Plan” for Shenyang, in addition to particular measures to speed up the construction of the Shenyang Economic Region, the items of unifying telephone numbers and starting the operation of rapid transit trains between the cities were included.
2. The Shenyang Economic Region’s Competitive Advantages
(1) An economic region with a concentration of heavy and chemical industry
The Shenyang Economic Region, which accounts for 51.02% of the gross production in heavy industry for the province as a whole, makes up 70-90% of the provincial production capacity in nationally- and globally-advanced numerical control lathes, general machinery and large-scale plants, and the two nationally well-known major steel producers (Anshan Iron and Steel Co., Ltd. and Benxi Iron and Steel Co., Ltd.), and the three medium-scale steel producers (Beitai Iron and Steel, Fushun Special Steel and Xinfu Steel) have an annual production of 24 million tons. This is over 95.8% of the provincial total, and represents 77.1% of that of the three Northeast provinces. Moreover, it is also the nation’s largest petrochemical industry base, has a fine chemical industry of national-class and is the production base for synthetic fibers. Oil-processing is one third of the provincial total.
(2) An economic region with a high complementarity and interconnectedness of industries
The diagram below of the structure of heavy-industry production in the Shenyang Economic Region is drawn according to the initial connections between the industries, and the direction of flow is from mining to energy plants, to metallurgy and then to the machinery and equipment industries.
(3) An economic region which has advanced in scientific education
In Shenyang Economic Region (within each of the respective cities)—with its 40 universities (58% of the provincial total), 288,600 registered students (56.15% of the provincial total), and 801,000 technical experts (54.5% of the provincial total)—over one million skilled workers have formed the basis for industrial development.
(4) An economic region with abundant raw materials
The region has one quarter of China’s iron ore, one quarter of the world’s magnesite (a supplementary mineral in metallurgy), half of the province’s coal, over 10 billion m3 of coal gas, over 3.6 billion m3 of oil shale and comparatively large reserves of nonmetallic minerals (for example, limestone for making cement). In addition to this, it is also Liaoning Province’s largest food base and vegetable-growing area.
3. The Construction of the Industrial Cluster of the Shenyang Economic Region
The Shenyang Economic Region is being built with a foundation formed by the following eight main-industry clusters:
(1) Automobile and automobile-component manufacturing cluster
Centered on the assembly and research and development of Shenyang Brilliance Jinbei Automobile Co., Ltd., and Shenyang Zhongshun Automobile Co., Ltd., automobile-component manufacturing in the six cities of Anshan, Fushun, Benxi, Yingkou, Liaoyang and Tieling will be developed.
(2) Equipment-manufacturing industry cluster
The capacity of Shenyang’s equipment manufacture will be strengthened, the manufacturing of the components will be expanded and transferred to the surrounding regions and the six cities, and every effort will be made to construct a leading equipment-manufacturing cluster, with the Shenyang-Dalian High-speed Railway as its axis.
(3) Industrial cluster for petrochemicals and associated refining and processing
Based upon the Fushun Petrochemical Corporation’s finished chemical materials, development of the manufacture of high-value added synthetic rubber, engineering plastics, detergents, coatings and dyestuffs will be pursued in the development zones of Shenyang and the six cities.
(4) Synthetic fibers made from petroleum, and refined chemical manufacturing cluster
Building on Liaoyang Petrochemical Fiber Co., Ltd. as its base, the introduction of capital and technology will be pushed, domestic and foreign investors will be attracted, and the refining and processing of synthetic fibers will be developed.
(5) Steel industry cluster
The two major enterprises of Anshan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd. (Angang) and Benxi Iron & Steel Co., Ltd. (Bengang) will be merged, the level of domestic and international competitiveness of the cluster of the Shenyang Economic Region steel industry and its associated processing industry, and of the steel industry of Liaoning Province, will be raised.
(6) New construction materials cluster
A new construction materials cluster with the Shenyang-Dalian High-speed Railway as its axis, for high-value-added high-technology steels, and new low-energy plastic and aluminum construction materials—PVC, new wall-materials, waterproof materials, decorating materials, and luminescent materials.
(7) Food processing industry cluster
The relative superior quality of the natural resources of each city in agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries will be made use of, and the processing of maize, soybeans, fruit, specialist produce (edible wild plants, wild fruit, frog, etc.), livestock (meat, eggs and milk), vegetables and aquatic produce will be developed.
(8) Chinese medicine industry cluster
The abundant natural resources for Chinese medicine in the mountainous eastern area of the Economic Region will be develop and utilized, and a manufacturing and cultivation industry cluster will be constructed.
Shenyang Economic Region is the focus of foreign investment in China’s Northeast, and is also a key area supporting Liaoning Province’s strategy of the coast opening up to the outside world, called the “Five Points and One Line”, in which nearly 40% of the total of the Northeast’s inward foreign investment has been concentrated. As the strategy of opening up to the outside world is implemented, this economic region will doubtless offer foreign investors greater opportunities.
[Translated by ERINA]